The U.S. Treasury said it plans to sell $55 billion in long-term government debt this quarter and bring back auctions of three-year notes, as a slowing economy balloons the budget deficit to a record level.
The Treasury’s quarterly refunding of longer-dated securities is the biggest in four years. Three-year notes, which had been suspended since May 2007, will now be issued on a monthly basis, the department said in Washington today. The government will also increase the frequency of 10-year and 30- year debt auctions.
Borrowing needs have surged in the wake of higher spending, a $700 billion financial rescue plan and plunge in tax receipts amid what economists estimate may be the worst recession since the early 1980s. Debt issuance may increase further after bond trading firms this week predicted the budget shortfall will more than double to $988 billion in 2009.
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“These are highly uncertain times,” Karthik Ramanathan, head of the Treasury’s debt management, said in a press briefing. He said private deficit estimates “vary greatly, and the marketable borrowing estimates are even broader,” ranging from a projected shortfall this year of $1.1 trillion to $2.1 trillion.
The Treasury plans to auction $25 billion in three-year notes on Nov. 10, $20 billion in 10-year notes Nov. 12 and $10 billion in 30-year bonds Nov. 13, the department said.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
Most Since 2004
The total was in line with analysts’ forecasts and was the largest quarterly figure since the first three months of 2004. The department last quarter said it was considering a second reopening of the 10-year note and a move to quarterly new issues of 30-year bonds.